The Best Dirt on Earth

By Kenzi Layton

If you go to Park City, you have to enjoy the snow. If you go to Moab, you have to enjoy the Arches. If you go to St. George, you have to enjoy the red dirt. It’s just that simple. While some of us might have some experience with getting our hands (and entire body) dirty, many of us may be rather intimidated by the idea. Lucky for us, St. George has many guided options to help us feel comfortable, safe and get the most out of our adventures.

ATV vs. UTV – What’s the Difference?

Honestly, before I moved to Southern Utah, I had never heard of a UTV. I had an ATV growing up and I didn’t know there was really anything but that and dirt bikes. It didn’t take long to learn the difference in this culture though!

An ATV (all-terrain vehicle), also known as a four-wheeler or maybe a quad, is generally for 1 person, maybe fitting one extra person on the back. This is your more familiar terrain vehicle. An ATV is smaller, making it better for going faster and sharper. They’re definitely more demanding to ride as well. So if you’re a hard going adrenaline seeker, you definitely want to ride an ATV.

A UTV (Utility task vehicle) usually has two to four seats, so it’s best for couples and groups that want to stick together. They are larger and considerably safer, so if you’d like to stay a little bit within your comfort zone, you’ll be much more comfortable in a UTV. Although they tend to look like a cage on wheels, they’re actually a good bit more comfortable as well. They have car like seats, so you’ll feel a little more at home.


UTV Tours

With their office located only 6 minutes from the site of our hotel, The Dirt Road Uber provides a handful of amazing UTV tours in and around the Santa Clara area. Each of their 6 tours offers unique sites, including a 95% chance of seeing wild horses on their Mustang Route!

Their signature route is the Gunlock loop, which has a few different options, including the ability to customize your tour! Gunlock is one of our beautiful state parks in the area, and getting the chance to view it from a UTV would be a once in a lifetime experience! You can even get a chance to see Native American petroglyphs, a birthing cave, and shards from ancient arrows and spears. That’s a pretty good deal if you ask me!


ATV Tours

ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours offer some really great experiences. They have a 3, 4 and 5 hour option, each with ranging possibilities. They will schedule an adventure around your schedule, or they have normal hours if you have an open day. Never been on an ATV or UTV before?

Don’t worry, most of their riders are newbies, and they have a beginners training at the beginning of every tour. They’ll even provide cool water and snacks throughout the ride.

While their office is located in Washington City, they will meet you at Sand Hollow State Park. This is about 30 minutes away from the hotel, but the scenery in that area is well worth the drive.

The tours can accommodate anyone from 2 years to 90 years old! But here’s the best part – you can even add a zip line to your adventure! Once you’ve worn yourself out viewing all the beautiful red dirt from the ground, you’ll zipline 800 feet above it all to get a new view.


Person riding ATV and drift on sand.
Photo by Joe Neric.

Rent Your Own

If you’d rather take things into your own hands, there is a plethora of ATV, UTV and other off-roading vehicle rentals around town. Here is a list of some of the best.

Other Red Dirt Adventures

Paragon Adventure is a company in Santa Clara that has been around for 25 years. They offer many fun activities that are ever present in this red dirt area. They have amazing zip line tours over the beautiful red rocks, canyoneering and deserteering adventures, guided rock climbing and repelling, mountain biking adventures, and guided day hikes. They even have caving adventures and overnight camping explorations! If you were going to do any of these activities, southern Utah is definitely the place to be.

If you’re like me and didn’t know what canyoneering or deserteering was until you entered Southern Utah, here’s a bit of an explanation for you. Canyoneering is defined as “the sport of exploring a canyon by engaging in such activities as repelling, rafting, and waterfall jumping”.

In Southern Utah, there are an abundance of canyons to explore, but there is even more beautiful desert land. Deserteering isn’t a real word, but it’s practically the same thing. If I were to define it, I would say it is “the sport of exploring the desert by engaging in such activities as rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking”.

And More!

If none of these options quite fit, or you just want to go above and beyond, has a quite in-depth Adventure Guide. This guide has many sections of adventures – Aerial (yes, that includes helicopter rides), biking, canyoneering, hiking, fishing, off-roading, horseback riding, rock climbing, even sky diving and water sports.

Southern Utah really is amazing for its off-roading sports. Utah might be known for the best snow on earth, but I think it’s also the best dirt on earth. In fact, my husband’s family moved here from across the country, just for the dirt – they’re all avid dirt bikers. So whether you have your own gear at home, want to rent, or don’t even know where to start, St. George has everything you’ll need to take advantage of its beautiful scenery.